More than 45 years ago President Richard Nixon announced and declared the nation is at war, that war was the “War on Drugs”. Nancy Reagan campaigned heavily in the fight against drug use as well; her fight was that of teaching young children the slogan of “Just Say No”. The goals of the criminal justice system in the war on drugs have been a never ending fight against the sale of illicit drugs and that of combating drug abuse. We will discuss the increased resources spent on law enforcement and rehabilitation while making an attempt in understanding why the war on drugs has steadily increased. From a law enforcement perspective, the responsibility is to get rid of and stop drug trafficking business. This reaches across the range of drug activity. Law enforcement intends to disturb the drug marketplace by putting sellers and users alike out of business.
By ripping to pieces drug trafficking organizations by weakening their leadership. The intention is to stop the structure of these criminal businesses by seizing and forfeiting the enormous profits and proceeds derived from their illegal activities. The war on drugs is an expression used to describe the American approach in reducing drug use and abuse in the United States. President George Bush SR, televised a national message that drug abuse was “our nation’s most serious domestic problem” (Beckett, 1997: 6). President Reagan had diverted more than $700 million from education, treatment, and research to law enforcement programs to fight the war on drugs. Reagan also gave more money to prisons and to the Drug Enforcement Administration, the federal agency responsible for preventing illicit drug use (Kraska, 1990: 117). The federal government spends more than $20 billion fighting the drug war which does not include state and local government costs.
The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) goals of the drug war is to stop drug use before it starts by education and community action and educating youth to discard illegal drugs, alcohol, and tobacco use; to reduce the safety of society citizens by reducing drug crimes and violence; to reduce health cost in America for illegal drug use; to treat America’s drug users by providing treatment resources where they are needed most; to protect America’s land, air and sea borders from drug threats and control; last, to break foreign and domestic drug sources of supply by disrupting the market and attacking the economic basis of the drug trade. The fact is drug use not down since the founding of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP); some forms of drug use are down like ecstasy, LSD, and so forth. The most popular going on in today’s society is cocaine, crack, prescription drugs, meth, and so forth. Health costs of drugs and the drug war have increased every year, and drug users and abusers are more at risk of death and illness than before the war started; drugs are getting less safe. Drugs are still available more than before, and our borders are still not secure.
Treatment is not available to the vast majority of people who need it, and most people who need it simply do not get it (Department of Government and Justice Studies (2013). This policy has failed to do what it needed to do. More research and review should be completed with the need to revise an implement a better way to control war on drugs. The United States of America has always been on the war path to eliminate the sale and use of drugs. It has been almost a century that the political war on drugs has been going on; even four presidents have rid the country with the fight against the sale and use of drugs. The drug users are still filling the courts, prisons, and hospitals. It is like a revolving door for people who need it, but some do not have the financial backing to receive certain services from the hospital. So taxpayers are then placed in some way of paying for these services. The crimes of the drug trade cause communities to fall apart and increase in crime. The war on drugs has been a past, present, and future battle.
Stopping the flow of drugs into communities is becoming harder. The funds are low and are not leading to enough options to prevent this problem. The factors to stop this have always been in place. Specific information communicated from departments and other law enforcement agencies will probably help slow down the influx of the drug trade. One recommendation from my readings to ease crime of drug trafficking is more drug treatment facilities. The bigger cities within in America have drug treatment facilities, but they cost. Only the people who can afford the treatments go to the facilities. Border control is another recommendation that address the war on drugs. The reason is terrorism supplied by money, and the money is supplied by drug sales from drug trafficking. Drug trafficking is connected to many other crimes besides terrorism, crimes like money laundering and murder. The ineffective things are throwing money at the war on drugs. Budgetary and financial issues are centered on drug enforcement.
The many other countries that make up Central Asia lack the funds to create a law enforcement task force that would enforce only on their borders. Tajikistan is the only country in Central Asia that has a drug task force, but the United Nations funds it. The treatment for people with drug abuse is under finance because most of the countries in Central Asia have poor economies and are constantly engaged in civil wars, so the focus is more focused on civil rather than drug enforcement. The war on drugs is far from over because drugs and drug usage keeps evolving. Throughout the years, we have seen different generations of drugs have their mark on society. During the 1960’s marijuana was huge, in the 1970’s heroin and cocaine were the trendy drugs and the 1980’s introduced crack cocaine. This was the period the President felt drugs were a big problem and something needed to be done about the issue. Task forces such as the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) were formed to tackle the drug lords and kingpins looking to make big paydays.
History has shown that even 3rd world countries can be controlled or dictated by the big dope dealers. Countries such as Columbia and Vietnam have the climate and resources to mass produce the drugs. At one time, soldiers were introduced to the drugs while overseas and came home with serious problems that went beyond post-traumatic stress. The drug usage of opiates added a hallucination effect that caused multiplied PST times ten. The war on drugs sparked rise into the issue of cause and effect. What is the cause of the drug use and what are the effects? We are now moving into a time where some of the areas are looking to legalize certain drugs. This may be a trial and error experience to see what the ramifications will turn out to be. What we have learned is the drugs usage is not the only problem. The manufacturing and selling of drugs are other issues that cause turf wars and gang violence. If one gang invades on another gangs turf then shootings can arise and then we have innocent bystanders that fall victim.
Neighborhoods become rundown and abandoned. Business may suffer because the public may be afraid to charter into the known drug territory. Once this happens the economy begins to suffer. People may get laid off from their jobs and desperate people may result to violence adding to the violence from gang activity. One thing to keep in mind is that the war on drugs is a domino effect that can chip away society. Think of putting a drop of oil in a glass of water, the whole cup becomes contaminated. The war on drugs is ongoing and is, hopefully, moving in the right direction for the benefits of society’s sake. In conclusion, war on drugs is a battle the government is fighting on a daily basis. Putting a stop to drug smuggling and drug users have been an issued for many of decades.
Many of Presidents have implemented policies on how to stop or get rid of the drugs issues, but none has yet to succeed. Drugs have always been an issue in American and will continue to be unless citizens step up to stop it. A simple “NO” will stop the selling, smuggling, and using of the dangerous drugs that are being distributed. Citizens are stepping up to inform police officers about the activities of drug selling going on in the community. Progress is inevitably slow, but there is unprecedented momentum behind drug policy reform right now. Citizens look forward to a future where drug policies are shaped by science and compassion rather than political hysteria.
Department of Government and Justice Studies, 2013. Retrieve by http://gjs.appstate.edu/media-coverage-crime-and-criminal-justice/drug-war
Katherine Beckett. 1997. Making Crime Pay: Law and Order in Contemporary American Politics, Oxford University Press. Published in the Crime and Public Policy Series, edited by Norval Morris and Michael Tonry.
Peter Kraska, “The Unmentionable Alternative: The Need for and the Argument against Discriminalization of Drug Laws, “ in Drugs, crime and the Criminal Justice System, ed. R. Weisheit (Cincinnait, Ohio: Anderson, 1990), 117.
Drug trafficking. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/drug-trafficking/